What's he like?

SnakPatrick White 100th Anniversary Challenge

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What's he like?

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jan 1, 2012, 5:10 am

Which other authors or books are you reminded of when reading Patrick White?

jan 1, 2012, 5:15 am

I'm reading The Vivesector (and only 20 pages in!) but my preliminary impressions of Patrick White are that he could be compared to John Steinbeck. There seems to be that same direct line to the personal in service of a much broader vision. I think I'm going to enjoy this.

jan 1, 2012, 7:30 am

I've started reading The Aunt's Story. Reminds me a little of Joseph Roth in the beauty of the writing. Use of metaphor which is very clever, makes sense and perfectly evokes a picture or mood.
Reminding me very slightly of Dickens because I had forgotten that there is a sense of humour in the writing.

jan 1, 2012, 9:48 am

In The Vivisector Patrick White refers to the protagonist, Hurtle Duffield, just a boy at this early point in the novel, in both the third and second person. I'm not sure why at the moment, but this sort of stylish jiggery-pokery is the kind of thing I like (although I know it's not everyone's cup of tea).

Is this a common conceit of Patrick White's writing?

jan 1, 2012, 8:11 pm

Kevin, no it's not. Perhaps The Vivisector is the only one??

He reminds me also of Virginia Woolf.

jan 7, 2012, 9:17 pm

>5 amandameale: In what way does he remind you of Woolf?

jan 9, 2012, 7:50 am

#6 The poetic writing. And the way his characters are always flawed, even the bystanders. Both Woolf and White are quite vicious in their depiction of human beings.

jan 9, 2012, 8:15 pm

#7 Also he uses a stream of consciousness narrative for part of The Aunt's Story.

jan 9, 2012, 8:54 pm

I am trying to read White’s works in chronological order and have also read The Woman’s Hand, a short story.
I find there is a strong pattern emerging of a particularly vicious characterization of women, especially married middle class women. White doesn’t seem to be able to include friendship as a component between his married characters. The Fazackerleys in The Woman’s Hand, The Standish couple and the McCarthys in The Living and the Dead and the Frank and Fanny Parrott in The Aunt’s Story are good examples.
His characterization of the Standish children in The Living and the Dead is also particularly spiteful particularly of Eden, the daughter. I am reading The Living and the Dead and The Aunt’s Story concurrently and am finding these characterizations quite objectionable. I am looking forward to getting to his later works to see if this pattern continues.

jan 10, 2012, 7:23 am

#9 Trish, I thought that he was spiteful about all of the characters in The Aunt's Story, not just the women. Will be interesting to see if others, including myself, find the same pattern as you have. (Actually, I'm now thinking that yes, he is particularly nasty about the women characters in TAS.)